Still needing to add a corner outfielder and a starting pitcher before spring training begins next month, the Orioles made a minor roster move on Tuesday with the acquisition of outfielder Efren Navarro.
Sending cash to the Los Angeles Angels, Baltimore added the 29-year-old Navarro and designated outfielder L.J. Hoes for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster. The Orioles’ third-round selection in the 2008 draft and part of the Bud Norris trade in 2013, Hoes had been reacquired from the Houston Astros in exchange for cash considerations in late November.
The left-handed Navarro has batted .246 with a .303 on-base percentage in 280 major league plate appearances over the last four seasons. He carries a .365 career OBP in the minor leagues and hit .326 or better for Triple-A Salt Lake in each of the last three straight seasons (2013-15), but he never showed more than gap power in the minors — Navarro has hit more than seven home runs in a minor-league season just once — and his success at the plate has yet to translate to the big leagues.
Navarro appeared in 118 games over the last two season for the Angels, but he was designated for assignment last week. Primarily a first baseman in the minor leagues, Navarro has learned to play the corner outfield spots over the last couple seasons and is considered a solid defensive player.
Meanwhile, Hoes had been discussed by some fans as a potential sleeper candidate to win a starting job, which is more a reflection of the Orioles’ lack of quality outfield depth. The addition of Navarro does little to improve an outfield picture that consists of All-Star center fielder Adam Jones and a list of question marks headlined by Korean newcomer Hyun Soo Kim and veteran Nolan Reimold.
Mark Trumbo is also capable of playing the corner spots, but manager Buck Showalter has already indicated that he will primarily serve as the club’s designated hitter while receiving occasional starts at first base or in the outfield.